Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Find - Mary Kennedy Bates, wife of John Bates

While we were in Hawaii, sitting comfortably on a boat, I received an email from Texas Bill, William G. Bates. He had been corresponding with a newly found member of our family, Bill Jennings. He is a descendent of John Bates through his youngest child, David Kennedy Bates. He lives in York County and has been researching the family lately.

In the email from Texas Bill, he reported that Bill Jennings had found the first name of John Bates' second wife. In addition, we were able to learn her age, date of death, and Rebbecca Beal Bates' date of death. This information came from headstones in the 'Nelson Cemetery'.

Bill Jennings also sent an email, which had attached a document containing an article written by A.M. Grist, a resident of York County who was active in documenting cemeteries in York in the 1930's. Mr. Grist was a reporter for the Yorkville Enquirer.  He was accompanied by John Scoggins. Incidently, John SCOGGINS is the son of Thomas William SCOGGINS who married Harriet Isis BATES - daughter of David Kennedy BATES and had moved to the Laurelwood area of Rock Hill.  Thomas would have been about 65 at the time of the article.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

Turning back toward Rock Hill we came by the Duncan farm and stopped for a moment's chat with John Henry Duncan, who is perhaps the oldest citizen of that community. Mr. Duncan lived in the "Black Jacks" when there were not very many white neighbors there and few are there now who were there when he was a young man in the community.

One of our objectives [was] to see the Nelson graveyard. It is on property now owned by J. M. Whisonant, who is right much of a dairyman in that section. Formerly he was in charge of the Winthrop College farm. Unfortunately when we reached the Nelson graveyard we found but two headstones still standing. The graveyard has been plowed over and some of the stones-there were never very many-have been removed, One of the stones we found bears this inscription: "Sacred to the memory of Mary Bates, wife of John Bates. Esq., died Oct 9. 1808, in her 32nd year, . . .

The other stone, badly defaced by time and partly unreadable bears this inscription: "Rebecca Bates wife of John Bates, Esq. Died Oct. 28, 1806." It will be noted from this that John Bates, Esq. was twice married and that his two wives died just two years span; Rebecca in 1806 and Mary Bates in 1808.  (Taken from A. M. Grist's weekly column. "Just A-Rolling Along the Way." published In the Yorkville Enquirer. Dec. 6. 1931 John K. Scoggins acted as Grist's guide).

How fortunate that the two headstones remaining were John's two wives. How tragic that they both died young, and Mary not long after they were married.

Thanks to Bill Jennings for this information. Thanks, also, to Texas Bill who is so active in gathering information and making contacts. We owe much to these diligent researchers.

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